The Aam Aadmi Party on Wednesday accused the Haryana government of being the “biggest culprit” behind pollution in Delhi, a day after the Supreme Court observed that there cannot be a “political battle” over the issue all the time.
Amid a spike in pollution levels in Delhi-NCR, the apex court on Tuesday directed Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan to ensure crop residue burning was stopped ”forthwith”, saying it cannot let ”people die” due to pollution.
There was no immediate reaction from the BJP or the Haryana government on the allegations. Earlier in the day, Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar said polluted air is not restricted by borders. He claimed that people in his state as well as in Delhi were suffering with Punjab reporting several cases of crop-residue burning. Khattar, however, stressed there should not be politics over the issue and that it is the collective responsibility of everyone to keep the environment clean.
The air quality in Delhi and its adjoining areas in the National Capital Region (NCR) worsened on Wednesday morning, with smoke from post-harvest paddy straw burning in neighbouring states accounting for one-third of the air pollution in the national capital. The city’s Air Quality Index (AQI) stood at 421, worsening from 395 at 4 pm on Tuesday.
Addressing a press conference, AAP MLA Durgesh Pathak said the Union Environment minister is busy with election campaigning at a time when Delhi is facing a pollution crisis.
“They have left the public to fend for themselves. We are thankful to the Supreme Court for their decision. There are five states involved — Delhi, Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan — but it is very unfortunate that at a time when the apex court is discussing such a serious matter, only Delhi and Punjab submitted affidavits but no other states submitted theirs,” he said.
”The BJP blames Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Punjab for the pollution problem. It seems that an agenda is being run to defame Kejriwal,” Pathak alleged. The AAP is in power in Delhi and Punjab. Pathak claimed it has come to light that Haryana’s Kaithal is the most polluted district but there has been no discussion on it.
“Delhi has no role in its pollution problem. The truth is that Haryana is the biggest culprit of Delhi’s pollution. They are not taking any action. They are not holding any discussions with farmers or not formulating any scheme. They blame AAP at the time of stubble-burning. People are suffering because of it,” he said.
”What is the need for politics? You have done so much politics already. You have taken over the entire governance in Delhi. You are doing everything but people in Delhi understand their son,” Pathak said.
Asserting that stubble-burning has reduced in Punjab ever since AAP came to power, he said more measures will be taken. ”Please don’t do politics over the issue. I urge the Centre to wake up. Elections will come and go. Environment minister should call all the stakeholders and states to discuss the issue and find solutions,” he stressed.